A common joke people say when they hear that someone has a lot of kids is, “Are you starting your own basketball team?” Well, for some professional athletes, this could be a logical question. A few of them could actually use their own offspring to put together several basketball teams.
Keep reading to find out which professional athletes have created some of the biggest families in sports.
Los Angeles Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers is quite the family man. He’s been married to his wife Tiffany since 2001 and the lovebirds have nine children together, the youngest of whom was born in early 2019. The baby girl, Anna Rivers, joined her siblings Halle, Caroline, Grace, Gunner, Sarah, Peter, Rebecca and Clare, who ranged from ages 3 to 16 at the time.
The Chargers Twitter account posted a baby Simba gif from “The Lion King” to celebrate Anna’s birth. Between the two adults and the nine kids in this family, they have enough people for a starting lineup in football.
Former NFL cornerback Antonio Cromartie has six children with his wife, Terricka (pictured here). But that’s not even all of his children!
Cromartie has eight more children as well, for a whopping total of 14 kids. That’s a huge accomplishment for a 35-year-old man! At one point, Cromartie even drew some derision when he struggled to recite all of his kids’ names during an episode of HBO’s “Hard Knocks.”
As of 2017, however, Cromartie had traded in his big-time NFL status for a new role as a full-time stay-at-home dad and subject of a comedic half-hour reality series on the USA Network titled, “The Cromarties.”
In comparison to athletes like Rivers and Cromartie, “only” having five children seems almost quaint. NBA legend Shaquille O’Neal, one of the biggest athletes of all time, has four children with Shaunie Nelson (Shareef, Amirah, Shaqir and Mearah) and is also stepfather to her son, Myles. Meanwhile, with ex-girlfriend Arnetta Yarbourgh, O’Neal shares daughter Taahirah, for whom he threw an epic 21st birthday party in 2017. He’ll have plenty more of those parties to plan in the coming years!
You may be familiar with Laila Ali, the daughter of Muhammad Ali who followed in her father’s epic footsteps and become a legendary boxer in her own right. But did you know that Muhammad Ali had eight other children in addition to Laila?
The boxing and civil rights icon had seven daughters and two sons: Jamillah, Rasheda, Maryum, Muhammad Ali, Jr., Khaliah, Miya, Hana and Asaad. While the rest of the world called Ali “The Greatest,” these kids simply called him “Dad.”
At 6 feet 6 inches tall, the legendary Michael Jordan just might have a wingspan wide enough to embrace all five of his children at once. Jordan’s first son, Jeffrey, was born in 1988, followed by Marcus and then Jasmine in the early ’90s. In 2014, the famous NBA baller welcomed twins Victoria and Ysabel. Jordan’s kids could field their own starting lineup on the basketball court now — but we’re not sure any of them could take dad.
On the football field, Ray Lewis was an intimidating linebacker for the Baltimore Ravens. Off the field, he’s dad to six children, four boys and two girls, several of whom have variations of his name: Ray, Rayshad, Ralin, Rashaan, Kaitlin and Diaymon.
Although an off-field controversy haunted the early part of Lewis’ career, when it comes to his kids, he’s reportedly always been a caring and involved dad. In an interview with Orlando’s WKMG-TV, Tatyana McCall, the mother of three of Lewis’ children, described the Hall of Famer as kind, sensitive and funny.
Oscar De La Hoya
Boxing’s “Golden Boy,” Oscar De La Hoya, began his career early and had captured a gold medal in the 1992 Olympics by the time he turned 19. Throughout his career, which ended in 2009, De la Hoya captured multiple championships across different weight classes, and in the process he fought classic bouts with the likes of Floyd Mayweather, Arturo Gatti and Julio Cesar Chavez.
Outside of the ring, De La Hoya was an equally prolific procreator, having fathered five children: Atiana, Devon, Jacob, Nina and Oscar. In 2000, the Golden Boy was faced with a $62.5 million palimony suit from Miss USA, Shanna Moakler, to provide for their daughter, Atiana. He married his wife Millie, with whom he has two children, just one year later.
NFL Hall of Famer Dan Marino put up a number of impressive stats during his 17-year career. He was the first quarterback to throw for over 5,000 yards and toss more than 40 touchdown passes in one season. Married to wife Claire since 1985, the two have compiled another impressive statistic: raising six children together.
Their long relationship faced challenges, however, when it was revealed that in 2005 that the beloved passer had fathered a seventh child outside of their marriage. A contrite Marino issued a statement at that time saying, “This is a personal matter. I take full responsibility both personally and financially for my actions.” Dan and Claire have remained married despite the news.
NBA Hall of Famer Scottie Pippen was known as one of the best all-around players to ever take the court. His tandem with Michael Jordan came to dominate the 1990s and capture six championships. Despite his own prowess, Pippen always seemed to be second fiddle to Jordan’s perennial MVP status.
One statistical area where Pippen did outdo Jordan, however? Procreating.
The former fifth overall draft pick has fathered seven kids, compared to Jordan’s five. Scottie has four children with wife Larsa and one each with three other women. Pippen himself was one of 12 children, so perhaps he was destined to have such a large brood.
“The Baddest Man on the Planet,” Mike Tyson, may also be the “Daddest Man on the Planet,” thanks to the eight children he has fathered with four different women. Tyson’s kids include Mickey, Rayna, Amir, Gena, Exodus, Miguel, Milan and Morocco.
Tyson actually thought he had a ninth child, D’Amato, who was named after his longtime trainer, but a DNA test KO’ed that notion.
Kurt Warner’s life and career sound a lot like the plot of an underdog sports movie. After a difficult childhood, raised by a single mother, Warner sought solace in sports. He excelled in several, notably football. When he finally got his big break as a professional quarterback, while working the night shift in an Iowa grocery store, his success was undeniable. Warner became a two-time NFL MVP and Super Bowl champion.
Married since 1997, Warner and his wife, Brenda Meorio, have raised seven children together. Meorio was a single mother of two small boys herself when the pair met. Once married, Warner legally adopted the boys.
Keep in mind that this all occurred prior to catching his big break in the NFL, so perhaps there is such a thing as karma after all.
The lone woman on this list, Jeanette Lee was a legendary professional pool player who earned herself a menacing nickname: “The Black Widow.” Despite enduring lifelong pain from scoliosis, Lee obsessively practiced pool and was ultimately ranked the No. 1 female billiards player in the world.
In addition to her incredibly impressive career, Lee is also the matriarch of a large family. With George Breedlove, a fellow billiards player and business owner, Lee shares six kids: two are from Breedlove’s previous marriage, two are Lee’s biological children, one was adopted and one is a foster son — truly a modern family!
Whether he was in uniform or in drag, Larry Johnson was a powerful force on the basketball court. Off the court, Johnson’s romantic relationships ultimately brought him legal woes. “Grandmama” is known to have fathered five children with four different women, including Johnson’s now ex-wife, Celeste.
Child support settlements forced Johnson into bankruptcy in 2015. In the case of Laura Tate, Johnson signed over his house to his ex-girlfriend, in order to mitigate his nearly $1 million debt.
In 2013, running back Willis McGahee joined the Cleveland Browns for his final season of professional football. The following year, at the age of 32, McGahee welcomed his 10th child into the world. Two years later, the former football player once again tried his luck at finding love on the reality series, “Famously Single.” McGahee and his 10 children could suit up to play against the Rivers family on the football field and they’d have every position covered!
Shawn Kemp, “The Reign Man,” was one of the most dominant NBA players of the 1990s. His powerful dunks are the stuff of legend. Just as his career was running full steam ahead, a bitter contract dispute forced an end to his “Reign” with the Seattle SuperSonics. This essentially began a downward career trajectory for Kemp, that saw the All-Star struggle with both weight and addiction issues.
Kemp would spend the rest of his career with three different teams, never quite reaching the same heights he did in Seattle. Somewhere along the way Kemp would father seven children with six different women. Kemp is on record as acknowledging only the three children that he shares with his wife Marvena.
Before he was a world-famous grill salesman, George Foreman was a world-champion boxer. Foreman amassed an astounding record of 76 wins against only five defeats over nearly two decades. The gregarious champ and entrepreneur has also been married five times and has had 10 children.
The man who fought both Ali and Joe Frazier has had five daughters and five sons (all of whom are named George). The proud dad told People earlier this year that he named all five of his sons George “so they would all have something in common.” Despite his busy schedule, multiple marriages and 10 kids needing attention, members of the Foreman clan insist George always made time for them.
Over his 14 seasons in the NBA, Kenny Anderson made $63 million — and then he lost it all and filed for bankruptcy. Anderson fathered seven children with five women, and he admits that his former lifestyle was a bit reckless.
In 2013, while working as a high school basketball coach in Florida, Anderson told the New York Daily News, “I’m going in the right direction. I’m a better father now. I’m trying to help the youth and just live a good life.”
The first time Charles Rogers became a father, he was in high school. Rather than derail his ambitions, however, Rogers claimed that having two kids while in high school actually gave him a sense of purpose. He was more driven than ever to succeed.
Rogers ultimately played for the Detroit Lions for three seasons and he fathered six more kids, for a total of eight children — four boys and four girls. As a Lansing State Journal article phrased it in 2017, “[Rogers] says he’s a good father, but knows that he needs to work on himself before he can play a bigger role in their lives.”
Before Shawn Bradley was a genetic test subject, the 7-feet-6-inch BYU alum enjoyed a 12-year career in the NBA, finding success playing with three different teams. He also shared the screen with Bugs Bunny in the beloved 1996 movie “Space Jam.”
Off the court, Bradley, a practicing Mormon, has been focused on raising his six children, one of whom has followed her father into athletics as a collegiate volleyball player.
Another boxer with a small army of children is Evander Holyfield, who has 11 kids with six different women. And clearly, the boxing legend has a thing for E-names, as every one of his children’s names starts with the oft-underappreciated letter.
Holyfield counts among his offspring a couple of athletes like himself, such as Elijah Esaias, who is now an NFL player, and Eleazar Evan, an aspiring boxer. Holyfield’s other children include Ewin Ezekiel, Evette Ashley, Eli Ethan, Elijah Jedidiah, Eden Eloise, Eve Elizabeth, Evander Jr., Ebonne Esheal and Emani Winter Holyfield.
By the age of 31, the NBA’s Dwight Howard had five children with five different women. In an interview with Sports Illustrated, Howard admitted that he should have been more responsible as a younger man, but he added that his children are “all a blessing” to him.
In his work with charitable organizations, Howard has also proven that he cares about children in general — not just his own. The basketball star has been involved with philanthropic efforts to promote childhood literacy as well as programs to benefit St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.
Having allegedly fathered seven children by six different women, you’d think the last problem Chad “Ocho Cinco” Johnson had was meeting potential romantic partners. Yet, in 2010, the former NFL star found himself in the lead of a “Bachelor”-style reality show called “The Ultimate Catch” (you know, as in, catching a football, but also a mate). The relationship that resulted from the show did not work out.
Johnson, who was in court just last year to settle a child support claim, shouldn’t be too upset though. The winning contestant, Rubi Pazmino, was recently arrested for stabbing her current boyfriend.
Former NBA forward Jason Caffey has fathered 10 children with eight different women. Having endured a rough childhood, Caffey attributes his desire to have a large family with trying to fix his own troubled youth.
His lifelong struggle with depression and anxiety was amplified by a high-profile career in the NBA. Caffey was drafted by the Chicago Bulls in 1995 and credits the experience with saving his life. Playing alongside legends like Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen taught Caffey the work ethic it took to weather his personal highs and lows.
Today, Caffey works with a group called Doc N Jock, which seeks to “change the male narrative,” encouraging young men to seek help for mental health issues.
Though Adrian Peterson himself is loath to acknowledge it, the NFL running back is rumored to have fathered seven children with multiple women. In 2014 Peterson made headlines following his indictment on charges of felony child abuse against one of his sons. Peterson pled no contest to the charges and avoided jail time. Peterson made amends with his son and his family and entered therapy soon after the incident.
At the time, he faced a suspension from the NFL, but returned the following season. He currently ranks among the top 10 rushers in league history.
Running back Travis Henry can’t boast the greatest number of offspring on this list, but his fathering stats are still impressive. The former NFL player has 11 children by 10 different women.
In 2009, at the age of 30, Henry admitted that he couldn’t afford the child support payments for all of his kids.
“I’ve lost everything in this mess I’ve gotten myself into,” he said at the time in a New York Times interview, though he also insisted, “I love all my kids.”